I have just, this minute, made my voice heard at the apartment complex where I live in respect of garden weedkillers being put down without a thought for cat companions.
I was sitting at my desk and noticed – and smelled – a chemical being sprayed on the lawn. I asked Michelle to go out and ask if it was “pet safe”. I asked her because I wanted to ensure there was peace in the community. When it comes to protecting my cat, I tend to be too direct and use plain language that some people find hard to digest. They see me as a crazy cat man.
As nothing happened I went out myself and asked. The gardening contractor working for a hired company, who was spraying chemicals on the lawn in lines, said that it was not safe for cats and that it would kill a cat. I asked when would it be safe. He said in about one hour. But can I trust him? The sun is shining. Doesn’t the chemical have to be washed into the ground by rain to guarantee safety? I do not know.
Then the head gardener turned up, who happens to be one of the flat owners, and I made my feelings known. What are my feelings about this?
Well, committees or managing companies who are in charge of managing the maintenance of condos and blocks of flats or apartments should factor in companion animals when instructing contractors (businesses) to maintain gardens. The often don’t.
It is not good enough to say in relation to cat safety that, “nothing has happened for years”. Or, “I don’t know of any cat that has been hurt by weedkiller”. This is not good enough because often people won’t know if cats are being poisoned by weedkiller. No one is keeping records and frankly not many people care.
The cat is particularly vulnerable to garden chemicals because she licks the chemical off her paws and belly. Cats also eat grass they brush against plants. This adds significantly to the concentration and amount of chemical ingested.
A committee who run a complex of apartments should ensure that all chemicals used in the communal garden are cat and dog safe – and child safe too.
If they don’t do that they are open to being sued for compensation for the loss of a companion animal. In my case, if my cat was killed or hurt by weedkiller on communal gardens, I would never forgive myself and someone would pay a heavy price. It would be big negative in my life.
People living in apartments should make sure that people in charge of garden maintenance are thinking of cats when they put down obnoxious chemicals on the lawn to make it look better. I hate chemicals. People do this to make a lawn look attractive. What is more important: an attractive lawn or a poisoned and dying cat? Well, for most people, the lawn is more important.
There must be some “pet safe” weed killers. If there aren’t and if people insist on putting the stuff on lawns be very careful on behalf of your cat.